Sunday, June 26, 2011

Recipe Makeover: Chicken Pillows

I'm always trying to eat healthier. More fruit & veggies. Low fat. Less sugar. Less processed. Cutting fried foods. Eating out as little as possible.

I don't always succeed (particularly at the sugar part). But it's a natural part of who I am to always be thinking "how can I take this great recipe and make it a little healthier"??

And on Saturday I had a checkup at my doctor. I went in knowing I wanted to lose weight and she confirmed that I needed to lose 45lbs to get to a healthy BMI. That's a big number. And jogging isn't doing enough. I knew I needed to make some dietary changes.

I asked her how low I could cut my calories (because I am still nursing) and she told me between 1200-1500 for non-nursing and we agreed 1600 would be fine (I'm not nursing as much these days with Evs being one now). I am using an app for my phone (there's a website too) called MyFitnessPal to track calories. If you join you can add me as a friend, my username is annas3.

Anyway calorie watching, calorie cutting, recipe makeovers. 45 whopping pounds. It's all on my mind.

Also green onions were popping up in our garden and needed to be used. And my favorite recipe to use green onions is chicken pillows. I'd already healthified them some (reduced fat crescent rolls, 1/3 less fat cream cheese, omitting the butter in the coating that some people use), but they still weren't "healthy".

So here's a revised approach. Dropping the crescent rolls & incorporating non-fat greek yogurt which packs a protein punch with no fat. I have to note that making my own roll dough was a little more work, but rolling them up was easier because I could control the dough shape more and fit more meat in each "pillow" which means more protein and less carbs per serving.

Anyway enough yapping, the recipe.

Healthier Chicken Pillows

Dough (slightly modified from here):
2 packets yeast
2 cups water (warm)
1/2 cup sugar (going to try reducing next time)
2 tsp salt
3 c all purpose flour
1/4 c oil
1 egg
2-3 c whole wheat flour

1. In small bowl mix together yeast, water, and a T of the sugar to help it proof.
2. In a larger bowl mix the all purpose flour, rest of sugar and salt. After yeast had proofed in the water for 5 minutes or so add it to the flour bowl. Mix until combined well.
3. Add egg & oil
4. Add 2 cups of whole wheat flour
5. Knead on counter, adding flour as necessary to reduce stickiness, knead until smooth & elastic
6. Place in large greased bowl, let rise until doubled (about 1 hour)

In the meantime make the filling.

3-4 chicken breasts, cooked, and cubed
1 pkg 1/3 less fat cream cheese
1/2 cup (ish) non-fat greek yogurt
2 T (ish) milk
2-3 green onions
garlic salt

Making the filling is not an exact science. I just try to get a consistency like chicken salad. Basically you want mostly chicken coated in cream cheesy garlicy oniony goodness. So soften the cream cheese, add a big dollop of greek yogurt to make it go further, use the milk to thin out the consistency, garlic salt to taste, add the green onions and chicken.

1. Punch down roll dough. Take sections and roll out into a large rectangle.
2. Add about 1/2-1c of the filling in small mounds, fold over the dough, pinch the edges to seal, cut the pillow apart from eachother.
3. Optional: Spray each pillow with I-Can't-Believe-It's-Not-Butter-Spray and dip in italian seasoned bread crumbs. You could use butter (which would be tasty...but not really fitting in our recipe makeover here)

Bake at 375 until golden brown (15-20 min)

Joe likes to serve it with a seasoned cream of chicken soup sauce, I like to eat them plain.

*note: I didn't use the entire batch of dough but the original recipe says it keeps in the refrigerator for up to 4 days so I'm saving the rest of the dough for tomorrow's dinner.

Sorry, no picture...I did make bread dough from scratch today though and have a healthy dinner. So I'm still patting myself on the back.

2 little remarks:

painty (Melinda) said...

I will have to try this. I love chicken pillows, but rarely make them because of the crescent rolls. I have problems with blood sugar so I try to avoid the really white breads as much as possible. thanks for the recipe!

Andrea said...

I love that app! I don't always use it to its full potential, but whenever I do, it's always an eye opener...

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